Here’s Joel Isaac Black in 2011, masterfully using a vintage Akai sampler. You can hear the sampler at the top of our song “Everyone But You” off of our self-titled debut album. The album was recorded at The Cave Studio in L.A. with Josiah Mazzaschi producing. Josiah was wonderful to work with and entertained every half-decent idea. When we approached him about sampling monkey sounds at the top of a song, he was on board. Joel and I played the cheeky monkeys, and if you know us, that makes a lot of sense.
Here I am singing my guts out to The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” with David Newton of The Mighty Lemondrops, many years ago. We were at a party in downtown Los Angeles and The Henry Clay People were playing. Back then, I used to hop onto any stage I could find and I’m sure glad I did, because I love this photo.
This is my favorite verse from that song: ”I laid a divorcée in New York City / I had to put up some kind of a fight / The lady then she covered me with roses / She blew my nose and then she blew my mind”. Beautiful!
I hope you have a great weekend!
Photo by Bekki Newton.
2011: Fresh off the airplane and into the Keller. Joel Isaac Black comes in from Dallas and we put together a band, consisting of Jack Wharton and Adam Neal of Eight Legs. Afterwards, we DJ with Dyan Valdes at one of White Trаsh Fast Food ‘s legendary indie parties. We quickly learned that we weren’t in L.A. anymore. The night raged on. Check out the photo evidence below.
It was wonderful to grab coffee with radio giant Mark Sovel today at HEIDE’s Deli. The Blood Arm used to religiously listen to the station he ran, Indie 103.1, and his show with Steve Jones of Sex Pistols, Jonesy’s Jukebox, back when we lived in L.A. He interviewed us, played our music and acted as a conduit for the scene out there. He’s an absolute legend and I’m honored to be wearing matching t-shirts in this photo. Thank you, Mark.
Ten years ago today, I moved from Los Angeles to Berlin in search of a better life. I’m happy to report that I found it.
A big kiss goes to my wife Alison Bell for expanding my horizons.
Endless thank yous go to my best pal Dyan Valdés, who got here first.
Zebastian Carlisle and Joel Isaac Black, I love you guys, thank you for your continued support and encouragement along the way.
There are too many other people to list here, but you know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Here’s to another ten!
Photo by Dörte Bundt.
Back in L.A. there are parties dedicated to Morrissey and The Smiths at venues around town. For October’s Selfie Playlist, I wanted to capture those feelings of youthful abandon, togetherness and community that those parties represent. So, imagine you are on the dance floor of The Echo in Los Angeles, beer in hand, surrounded by Latinxs with pompadours, shouting along to lyrics about violence and poetry in Manchester, England. Then press play.
Selfie Playlist 3: Morrissey Dance Party
1. London – The Smiths
2. Glamorous Glue – Morrissey
3. The Last of the Famous International Playboys – Morrissey
4. Rusholme Ruffians – The Smiths
5. Vicar in a Tutu – The Smiths
6. Something is Squeezing My Skull – Morrissey
7. First of the Gang to Die – Morrissey
8. Ask – The Smiths
9. I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me – Morrissey
10. Sing Your Life – Live at KROQ – Morrissey
11. Sister I’m a Poet – Morrissey
12. Hand in Glove – The Smiths
13. Suedehead – Morrissey
Listen on Soundcloud.
Listen on Spotify.
Listen on Apple Music.
Here are a few shots of the Bountiful Hearts recording at Josiah Mazzaschi’s The Cave, back in L.A., October 2010. This is the lineup that helped me develop the songs on Thee Nathaniel Fregoso & the Bountiful Hearts. Randy Billings, Becky Gebhardt and Joel Isaac Black are all extremely talented musicians who poured their energy and magic into the album and made it something special. Listen to it this Friday on your favorite streaming service via R.I.P. Ben Lee Records.